Deep Soap: ‘The Young & the Restless’ Celebrates 24 Years as the No. 1 Soap

'The Young and the Restless' (Photo: CBS)

Y&R Celebrates 24 Years at the Top

This week, “The Young & the Restless” hit an unprecedented milestone. It has now been the number one daytime show every week for the past 24 years, or 1248 consecutive weeks in Household Ratings.

DVR the Next Episode of “Y&R”

It has also been number 1 in women 25-54 for 302 of the past 303 weeks and first in women 18-49 for 297 of the last 298 weeks.That’s astonishing. As CBS’s press release pointed out, when Y&R began its streak, “The Cosby Show” was the number one primetime series. In fact, Y&R’s ratings in the 1980s and 1990s were higher than the top primetime shows today.  Y&R has stayed on top while cable TV grew, and the internet transformed the way people consume entertainment.

Y&R’s ongoing dominance is also a measure of how loyal the show’s audience is. The characters and stories that Bill Bell, Kay Alden, and Jack Smith crafted were so good that they created lifetime viewing habits that kept the show on top even though the past few years of backstage upheaval and uneven storytelling. Other soaps have crumbled under similar circumstances. Congratulations Y&R!

Watch the Most Recent Episode of “Y&R”:

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Three Soaps Nominated for Writers Guild Awards

I am thrilled that “One Life to Live” was just nominated for a Writers Guild Award for its brilliant final episodes. Finally, an awards show is recognizing what was the best soap on television. (Or, devil’s advocate, with only a few weeks to choose from given the show aired its finale in January 2012, it was impossible for headwriter Ron Carlivati  and executive producer Frank Valentini to submit the wrong episodes for judging.)  OLTL will face off against “Days of Our Lives” and “The Young & the Restless.” Notably missing: the resurgent “General Hospital” which lends credence to my Cartini Can’t Choose theory. As with other award shows, the WGA winners  are selected on the basis of a small number of submitted episodes, not an entire year. So while fans who watch all the shows may question the inclusion of Y&R and DOOL, each show certainly had plenty of strong individual episodes.  The WGA’s judges read the actual scripts, rather than watching the finished product, so performances, directing and production values do not impact the judges’ scores. The winners will be announced on February 17, 2013.

“Another World ” star Joins Y&R

TV Guide reports that Mark Pinter, who played manipulative senator Grant Harisson on “Another World” will be joining the cast of “The Young & the Restless” as another politico, congressman Marcus Wheeler.He is described as, powerful and sophisticated congressman involved with Victor (Eric Braeden) and Jack (Peter Bergman), who will go to any lengths to protect his image and career.” It’s a short term role. Pinter will debut on January 10 and remain on the show through February sweeps. Let’s hope this prove to be a better storyline that Y&R’s last foray into politics, in which Nikki and Jack ran for State Senator.

Excite Me

At least once a week, “General Hospital” does something that delights and excites me. This week, I loved that A.J. (Sean Kanan) turned out to have evidence that Faison (Anders Hove) is alive, which will get all of the charges against him dropped. It was an unexpected twist that connected two recently returned from the dead characters and made a certain loopy sense. If you’re faking your death after an injury, there are only a limited number of discreet clinics in the world These moments of glee make me forgiving of the stuff that annoys me, like fifteen year old Molly (Haley Pullos) writing a novel that is good enough to publish. She’s smart, but I don’t believe that she’s the next S.E. Hinton, especially since her book is allegedly a love story about adults. Having her novel stolen by Connie (Kelly Sulllivan) only compounds the problem. But I am able to recognize it for the marketing tie-in that it is, though I wish the ghostwriter ABC hired for the project had aimed for something that would actually be about the lives of GH characters, like A.J’s journal from his years away from Port Charles or the books that some longtime GH fans told me Faison once wrote about Anna.

The other three soaps have not given me that same sort of glee in a long time. I enjoyed Stephanie’s (Susan Flannery)  final days and Katie’s (Heather Tom) post-partum depression on “The Bold & the Beautiful,” but I can’t say either was a story that righted a storytelling wrong org ave the show a shot in the arm. I am wracking my brain to think of something that would provoke a visceral response in  me. Perhaps if Ridge returned, took Forrester creations over, surprised everyone by appointing Dayzee his second-in-command and she proved to be ruthless.

“Days of Our Lives” squandered the opportunity that was Kristen’s (Eileen Davidson)  return by doing what it always does when it brings back a popular character: having them show up in town in a way that has no immediate impact on current story then struggle to find something for them to do. I would have been immediately interested if Kristen were responsible for the explosions that rocked Salem prior the the show’s two week Olympic hiatus and if her agenda was something more interesting then sleeping with Brady and worming her way onto the board of the local Catholic church.

Though much needs to be fixed on “The Young & the Restless,” it’s hard to think of a plot twist that would allow for years of wrongs tpoo be righted short of having Jack wake up from a terrible dream and discovering that John, Colleen, Brad and Cassie were still alive. But there’s no way to pull a Bobby Ewing in daytime. Come on soaps, wow me.


The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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